Onward’s Cruise Journal 2015

Updated: 16 March 2015

A Note to Readers: You guessed it… I have just been having too much fun playing with Peggy and our friends that I've gotten well behind in this journal. I will try to do better.

March 2015

1 Mar 15; Sunday; George Town

2 Mar 15; Monday; George Town

3 Mar 15; Tuesday; George Town

4 Mar 15; Wednesday; George Town

5 Mar 15; Thursday; George Town to Thompson Bay, Long Island

6 Mar 15; Friday; Thompson Bay

7 Mar 15; Saturday; Thompson Bay

8 Mar 15; Sunday; Thompson Bay

9 Mar 15; Monday; Thompson Bay

10 Mar 15; Tuesday; Thompson Bay
  • potluck

10 Mar 15; Wednesday; Cape Santa Maria
  • bocce

12 Mar 15; Thursday; Cape Santa Maria to Conception I
  • MAD BD; pizza; engine

13 Mar 15; Friday; Conception I
  • salina, Foxy Lady

14 Mar 15; Saturday; Conception I
  • hike; dinner on Oasis; Farkle

15 Mar 15; Sunday; Conception I to New Bight, Cat I

16 Mar 15; Monday; New Bight
  • At 1100, we headed ashore and beached the dinghies just N of the government pier. Chris and Robin were there waiting and we headed off on our hike to the Hermitage. Along the road we pass some of the fields that had been burned off to enable some vegetables to be grown. It was a sunny and still day that made the climb to the Hermitage, all 206' of it, warm work. But, as before, the effort was worth it. After exploring the structure and taking photos, we found the few scraps of shade to sit and enjoy our picnic lunches before we made the careful descent.
  • Along the way back to the dinghies, we were relieved to find that the Blue Bird Restaurant was open so we stopped for beers. We also arranged for dinner reservations before returning to the relative cool of the boat. There I enjoyed a nice nap al fresco.

17 Mar 15; Tuesday; New Bight to Fernandez Bay
  • Chris and Robin headed off to Conception Island in Cerulean at 0700. Peggy and I were ashore at 0730 to meet the vegetable guy, Mr. Johnson. Peggy had been warned last night that he wasn't a reverend, got most of the vegetables from the store, and would be late. While we waited we walked up to the gas station and convenience store just N of the police station. On the way back we stopped at Olive's bakery where she showed us the addition I had seen under construction last time was now about finished. Peggy bought loaves of rye and cinnamon swirl bread.
  • I watched the Bahamian flag being raised by a policeman and noticed that it was at half mast. I walked over to enquire what had happened to merit the half-mast flag. The policeman looked up and realized for the first time that it wasn't at the top. He thanked me for alerting him so he could fix it before his boss arrived. It seems a couple of the guys we met last night at the Rally Park bars had gotten rowdy and were given "hotel" rooms in the jail and the duty officer was very tired.
  • We found the vegetable guy had arrived and Sharlene was shopping. Peggy bought some tomatoes, which were local, and a mellon before heading home to Onward. At ~1000 we weighed anchor and motored slowly W around Bonefish Point and then S to Fernandez Bay where we anchored. Turas and First Love followed us over.
  • Sharlene and Gill invited us all over to share in the Mahi they had caught on the way over to Cat I. We had a delicious meal which everyone essentially inhaled. Peggy made some nut-brownie desert cups that she served with whipped cream to top things off. Sated, we proceeded to induct Howard into the world of Farkle. Great fun…

18 Mar 15; Wednesday; Fernandez Bay
  • First thing, I began making preparations to go up the mast to fix the anchor light. At 0900, Gill and Howard came over and managed the safety lines as I went up the mast. I had expected a problem with the ground wire for the light due to a bad connector / splice. However all looked good. I failed to take my DVM with me to check the pins of the connector. I decided to replace the ground connection on the pigtail anyway and had a very hard time as there is so little wire left above the mast plate to work with. I decided to take the light off so I could check it out below. I found the fixed bridge at Sewell's Island had bent back the Windex and the charge dissipator bush a bit so I straighten them out. I attempted to make the Windex just a bit straighter and it broke off at the base — I should have just left the 90% solution alone. I was at the top of the mast for almost an hour and because the hoisting line has to go right up to the sheave, it tilts the bosuns chair forward putting a lot of weight on the boys — very painful after more than 15 min. I will have to install a set of steps to help avoid this and allow better access to the masthead. I was happy to have survived the effort even if it didn't fix the problem.
  • Once back on deck and after the numbness went away, I whipped up batch of rosemary olive oil dough for dinner rolls.
  • After lunch, Peggy and I Ventured off to explore the tidal creek at the S end of Fernandez Bay, Unfortunately it was just after low tide and the low water level minimize the extent of our exploration. The First Loves had taken their inflatable kayaks into the creek before us and we eventually found then on a sandbar where Sharlene was giving Gill a haircut. Howard soon arrived in his dinghy and joined the haircut brigade. Peggy and I explored the limits of the creek. We saw a good number of juvenile Nassau groupers. We also encountered at least 2 3' sharks prowling about. The mangoes look to be in good health here.
  • On debating the creek, we Ventured over to the beach of Fernandez Bay resort. Again we encountered a steep shelving beach with an incoming tide. We have now learned that Venture is too heavy with all our gear and combined its deep bow section for us to be able to haul it up enough so that waves slapping against the transom don't flood it. So, I rigged the little Fortress anchor to hold the bow out and brought the stern into the water edge for me to step off in the shallows. The small stern anchor was adequate to hold it in place.
  • We walked up to the resort bar where we met and talked to the owner, Tony Armbruster. We had an interesting discussion about how cruisers tend to be a distraction for small resorts — not adding much to the bottom line while taxing limited staff and resources. We also got into a discussion of "cruisers etiquette" and how there is the very small minority ~5% who are simply social misfits. This reinforced my decision to write something on this topic for the BCG.
  • Peggy and I enjoyed a cold beer and looked around. A local woman was selling her straw work and I bought a cute hat for Elena. Peggy had warned me what a challenge this would be to get to LA undamaged. As we departed, the First Loves arrived. I had to get back to make rolls for dinner.
  • We had the Foxy Ladys, the First Loves and Howard from Turas over for dinner. This morning as I prepared to go up the mast, Peggy was busy making a slaw from red cabbage, and a potato salad. I baked rosemary-olive oil dinner rolls. We warmed up the pre-cooked and vacuum bagged pulled pork. This combination made an amazingly good dinner which everyone enjoyed. Sharlene topped it off with a trifle heavily laced with rum. Delish! As Steve and Barbara were Farkle virgins, we had to fix that. It was a good game that somehow I managed to sneak up and win — in spite of not really being in contention for most of the game. This made for a fun end to a very enjoyable evening — only a bit saddened as we bid farewell to our sailing buds as we would all go separate ways in the morning.

19 Mar 15; Thursday; Fernandez Bay to Black Point, Great Guana, Exumas
  • Weather data and Chris Parker confirmed that today would be an easy day for a motorsail on the light SE wind to the Exumas. Steve had provided some information on Conception Island and I updated the BCG with it before bringing an electronic copy over to Foxy Lady and saying farewell. They will be back home in Newport this summer so we plan to reconnect when Onward visits RI. I also stopped by Turas and First Love to wish them fair seas as they head up the coast of Cat I and then on to Eleuthera, the Abacos and home. We've had a great time with Sharlene and Gil and will reconnect when we go through the Chesapeake.
  • Onward was underway at 0900. I checked the engine raw water through-hull valve and there did not seem to be any leaking. It was still dry under the engine. Good! I also found the tool that got lost under the engine on Tuesday. Onward idled out of the anchorage and I noticed the temperature gage was reading high. I had forgotten t open the through-hull valve. I had to top up the water strainer again and then open the valve and all was well.
  • We motorsailed directly to Dothan Cut using the genoa in calm seas and clear skies. It was nice to be able to do stuff without being tossed about. I had internet for about 10 nm from Cat and picked it up 10 - 15 nm from Great Guana.

20 Mar 15; Friday;

21 Mar 15; Saturday;

22 Mar 15; Sunday;